Shauna and I had been the Youth Pastor couple at the Winkler M.B. Church for eight beautiful years. During that time, the ministry grew from around forty-five youth to a stellar team of forty-five leaders. Glory to God.
And as those eight years crept along, story by story, miracle by miracle, I didn’t get a single phone call, email, or inquiry about working at another church. Not one. Which was fine with me, because I had no inkling of moving on. But then, in year nine, God unleashed the Kraken. We received six invitations to serve in other places. The best way to describe it is this dislodged my heart from the church in Winkler.
One of those invitations came from a cutting edge church in Ontario, Canada, and it rocked me. After praying it through, Shauna and I agreed to an initial conversation with several of the guys on staff. I loved what I was hearing, and my heart began hoping for a new life on staff with that new church.
Unfortunately, they called a week or two later to let me know that their policy to attempt hiring from within before looking outside the fold had led them to affirm one of their current leaders in the Youth Pastor role. I respected their move, but I my heart felt deflated, even crushed.
I opened my journal and wrote out a confused prayer, something like, “I don’t get it, God! Why would you open this door, only to close it on us?”
God answered me so clearly that I wrote it down, placing two words in quotes: “One year.” No elaboration, no angelic chorus, just those undeniable words. And as the journal filled up with other entries, I forgot all about God’s cryptic message.
As we prayed through the various invitations from the churches, we eventually felt led toward the Dalhousie Community Church in Calgary, Alberta. Talks went well and we eventually landed a candidating weekend. This went so well that we put a conditional offer on a home. Our Realtor said he’d never seen one like it before: conditional upon a positive vote at the church. The ballots were counted, and we soared into our new role (and a new home) with 100% of the vote.
It was only when we returned to Winkler that I remembered God’s word to me a year before. Flipping back through the pages of my journal, I found it: “One year.” It took my breath away. The date, friends, turned out to be one day before our possession date in Calgary. Which meant our family was rattling down the road in a U-Haul one year to the day from when God spoke the words.
How This Miracle Shaped Me
When Shauna and I have made big decisions, God has always led us very clearly. I’ve found that the higher the stakes, the clearer God tends to be. Which means that when something big isn’t crystal clear, we don’t do it. That said, every situation is unique. He never uses the same deal twice, which keeps us on our toes.
Our church in Winkler was heartbroken when we announced our resignation. When we shared this story, however, many people said, “Oh. Well, I don’t like it, but that’s clearly God.” I’ve always known God can speak clearly; this miracle reinforced that reality in a resounding way.
How has God led you in the past, or lately?